The Best Exercises to Get Rid of Belly Fat
One of the areas that people often find most hard to lose weight from, or feel good about is their stomach. The stomach area is one of the first areas that people put weight on, and one of the hardest places to lose it.
There is no denying that excess weight around your belly is aesthetically displeasing; but did you know that it is also one of the most unhealthy places to hold extra weight, and can cause serious health concerns if you do not do anything about it. You will also be building up the visceral fat around your organs. The liver, pancreas and intestines can all suffer badly if you have excess fat around your middle.
Of course, you have to take diet and exercise hand in hand. Dieting alone will not banish your excess belly fat, and you will really have to make a conscious effort to include an hour of exercise into your daily routine in order for you to see a difference.
Below are specific exercises that you can try, which are known to target the fat around your belly, which will make it easier and faster to shift than you thought it would be.
Crunches are one of the best exercises that you can do to target belly fat.
- Lie down, keeping your knees bent and your feet on the ground. For comfort, you can put a mat underneath you. Alternatively, lift your legs off of the floor, and keep them at a ninety-degree angle.
- Either place your hands behind your head or keep them crossed on your chest; whichever you find more comfortable.
- Inhale deeply, before exhaling, lifting your upper torso off of the floor as you do.
- Inhale again, as you lay back down, before repeating again.
- If you are a beginner, try and aim for 10 times per set, and aim to complete two to three sets.
Of course, as with any exercises, there are certain variations, which you can try as you get more confident. These include the dumbbell crossover punch, shoulder press and side crunch, and the butterfly crunch.
To avoid injury whilst you are carrying out this exercise, it is so important that you make sure you complete them properly. Instead of getting into the full sit-up position, you only need to raise your back a few inches from the ground, as this will ensure that you do not hurt your back. If you are putting your hands behind your head as well, be sure not to jerk your head forward, as this will put unnecessary pressure on your neck and can really hurt. Simply hold your hands there to complete the crunches.
Like we said, crunches are one of the most effective ways of banishing that weight around your belly. So, once you have got used to doing regular crunches, it is time to modify this, to make this exercise even more effective.
To do the side crunch, simply follow these steps:
- Lie down on the floor with your hands behind your head.
- As you would do with a normal crunch, bend your knees, and keep your feet on the floor.
- Where you would lift your upper torso in normal crunches, in twist crunches you have to lift only your right should towards the left, keeping the left side of your torso completely on the ground.
- Alternate this, and lift your left shoulder towards the right, keeping the right side of your torso on the ground.
- Repeat this ten times again.
The side crunch is very similar to the twist crunch; however, the only difference that you need to do is to tilt your legs to the same side simultaneously with your shoulders. So follow all of the above steps, but add this extra move in whilst you do it.
The side crunch focuses unsurprisingly on the muscles on your sides, so if this is a problem area for you, this is a great exercise for you to do.
It is really important when you are doing these exercises to keep the movements steady and slow. It is a complex area that you are working on, and if you rush the movements or do not concentrate when you are doing them, it could result in a painful injury.
Reverse crunches are another great example of how you can rid yourself of your belly fat, and a great exercise to target this area.
The reverse crunch is very similar to the twist crunch; however, as you do it, you need to tilt your legs behind, simultaneously with your shoulders. Like we have said, this exercise will focus on the muscles on your sides.
Injury or pan can occur though if you do not do these exercises correctly. Ensure you avoid this, by not arching your back; instead ensuring that you keep your back straight whilst you perform the exercise.
Vertical Leg Crunch:
This is not the easiest exercise to do, so do not be disheartened if you can only do a few, to begin with. Over time it will get easier, and you will feel less sore after you have completed them.
To do the vertical leg crunch, complete the following steps;
- Lie on the floor completely flat, with your legs extended upwards as if they were pointed up towards the ceiling, and place one knee across the other.
- Once you are happy and comfortable in the position that you are in, do the same as you have been doing with the other crunches; so, breathe in and lift your upper body from the floor towards the pelvis.
- Follow this by breathing out slowly, and as you bring yourself down, breathe in again, and then exhale as you go up.
- Try and do 12 to 15 reps and up to three sets.
Remember though, overdoing this exercise initially can make you feel really sore, so take it slowly and start by doing just a few repetitions of the exercise and gradually increase.
This is a fairly simple exercise to do that can really work wonders on targeting your excess belly fat, and before you start wondering, you do not need to have a bicycle for this to work!
To do, simply;
- Lie flat on the floor, keeping your hands by your side, or alternatively behind your head, just as you would when you were doing crunches.
- Lift both of your legs off of the ground, and then bend them at the knees.
- Bring your right knee and draw it close to your chest, keeping your left leg away.
- Then take your right leg away and draw your left leg in close to your chest.
- Continue doing this, as if you are paddling a bicycle.
The motion of this exercise soon allows you to see why it is named what it is.
Lunges are favoured among people who are looking to tone up their bums, but lunge twist is a brilliant exercise for beginners who are looking to reduce their belly fat quickly.
It is an easy, but incredibly effective exercise to do. Follow these simple steps, and you should start to see a result fairly quickly.
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart, remembering to keep your knees bent slightly.
- Lift both of your hands up in front of you, keeping them aligned with your shoulders, and parallel to the ground.
- Now it is time to lunge forward. To do this, take a big step forward with your right leg, and sit down as if you were sitting on a chair so that your knees make a 90-degree angle with the floor.
- Ensure that you left leg is positioned backwards, and is being supported by the toes.
- Your spine should be kept completely straight, don’t be tempted to bend your spine forward at all.
- Once you are in this position, twist your torso, making sure you only twist this and not your legs as well, to the right and then to the left.
- Repeat this 15 times.
The Rolling Plank:
Now it should be noted that any plank exercises are not for the faint-hearted, but the rolling plank is a really great exercise to train the muscles around your abdomen, hip, and lower back.
Don’t be disheartened if you cannot do this right away, or you cannot do it for long. It is a strenuous exercise that requires a level of strength to begin with; however, keep going with it, and you will find that you will get stronger in no time at all.
- Position yourself on the floor on your front, with your knees and elbows resting on the ground.
- Make sure that you are looking forward and are keeping your neck aligned with your spine.
- Once you are happy with that, it is time to lift your knees up, supporting your legs on the toes.
- Contract your knees and ensure that you continue to breathe normally.
- This is the traditional plank pose, and you should aim to stay in this position for 30 seconds.
To complete the rolling plank exercise, it is very similar, but instead of supporting yourself on both arms and legs, you are only using one side at the time. Follow these simple steps to ensure that you complete this exercise safely;
- Lie down on the floor on your side.
- Support yourself on your right elbow and your right leg. Be sure to keep your elbow perpendicular to the shoulder, and the left leg should be placed above the right leg, keeping them together.
- Keep your knees nice and straight, and ensure that your hips do not touch the ground.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, to begin with before switching to the other side.
Of course, as you get stronger, you will find that you can hold the position for longer and longer, so just do it for as long as you can. To further add to the rolling plank, you can also lift the leg that is on top of the other and bring it down again. This will make your abs work harder, but will also work your thighs and hips.
Just remember, it is a strenuous exercise, and it is sometimes tempting to hold your breath whilst you are in your position; however, it is so important that you remember to carry on breathing as normal to avoid feeling nauseous or dizzy.
The Stomach Vacuum:
This is a really great and gentle exercise that is low-impact. In fact, it places more emphasis on your breathing instead of trying to increase your heart rate.
The breathing vacuum is similar to what some people call the cat stretch pose, the four-point, or the traverse abdominal stomach vacuum.
- Begin, by getting down on the floor on all fours, supporting your body on both your hands and your knees.
- Inhale deeply and loosen your abdomen.
- As you exhale, begin to tighten your abdominal muscles
- Hold this position for as long as you can – between 15 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat the above steps.
Another form of a stomach vacuum exercise is to use a chair and follow the below steps
- Sit on a chair, and then imagine that your belly is actually a lift that is moving up.
- Inhale deeply through just your nose, and think of this as being the first floor.
- Breathe out through your mouth, pushing your belly towards your spine at the same time, and imagine that you are going up to the fifth floor.
- Finally, breathe out fast five more times, making sure that you squeeze your abs tight every time that you do.
- Repeat the above steps five more times.
Or finally, why not try the standing pelvic tilts, which is another great example of a stomach vacuum exercise:
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart, with your knees bent slightly.
- Inhale through your nose and push your belly back towards your spine, whilst rolling your hips out to the front at the same time.
- Do this five or six times.
Be careful if you have any existing health problems though. If you suffer from any known heart or lung illness, avoid this exercise, and it should only be done on an empty stomach as well, to avoid indigestion.